Much Of The Southwest Is Turning Into ‘Death Valley’ As Dust Bowl Conditions Return And Water Resources Dry Up – 23 Awesome DIY Rainwater Harvesting Systems You Can Build at Home


The endless drought in the Southwest has become a full-blown national emergency.  If Lake Mead, Lake Powell and the Colorado River keep drying up at the rate they have been, millions of Americans could soon be without water and electricity.  Despite all of our advanced technology, those living in the Southwest continue to be extremely dependent on a handful of critically important water sources, and if those water sources get so low that they cannot be used we are going to have a major crisis on our hands.

The National Park Service says that Death Valley is the hottest and driest place in North America, but the truth is that vast stretches of the Southwest are now starting to resemble Death Valley.

For example, Utah has been dealing with extremely unusual heat in recent weeks and at this point nearly the entire state is officially suffering from either “extreme drought” or “exceptional drought”.

As a result, the Great Salt Lake has been shrinking and the water level has plunged to the lowest level ever recorded

Utah’s Great Salt Lake has hit a new historic low for the second time in less than a year, dipping to a water level of only 4,190ft over the weekend.

The state’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said the water levels have sunk past the last record set in October, which at the time had matched a 170-year record low.

DNR officials and weather experts warn that the water levels at the Great Salt Lake are expected to drop even further until fall or early winter as the West contends with an ongoing drought.

Meanwhile, water levels in Lake Mead and Lake Powell continue to fall as well.

If water levels keep sinking in the months ahead, millions of Americans living in the Southwest could soon lose their main source of electricity

Supplies at Lake Mead and Lake Powell are dangerously low, holding just more than a quarter of their total capacities — and threatening the dams’ ability to generate electricity and provide water to its nearly 40 million users. At its highest level, in the 1980s, Lake Mead could have submerged the Empire State Building up to its top floor. Now, water levels have dropped by nearly 200 feet, or 20 stories, exposing a stark white “bathtub ring” around the rocky walls of the perimeter.

The drinking water for millions of Americans is also at risk.

Normally, the Colorado River provides drinking water for approximately 40 million people, but now it is drying up really fast.

And we aren’t talking about a crisis point that is years or even months away.

If California and six other states can’t agree to severe water reductions in less than 60 days, the U.S. government “will do it for them”

California and six other Western states have less than 60 days to pull off a seemingly impossible feat: Cut a multi-way deal to dramatically reduce their consumption of water from the dangerously low Colorado River.

If they don’t, the federal government will do it for them.

Needless to say, the endless drought is also having a massive impact on agriculture.

Normally Kansas grows more wheat than any other state, but this year fields all over western Kansas are in really bad condition

This time of year, the wheat growing in this part of western Kansas should be thigh-high and lush green.

But as a months-long drought continues to parch the region, many fields tell a different story.

“There’s nothing out there. It’s dead,” farmer Vance Ehmke said, surveying a wheat field near his land in Lane County. “It’s just ankle-high straw.”

Most of us don’t think much about where our food comes from, but the truth is that if farmers don’t grow it we don’t get to eat.

And right now many wheat fields in western Kansas “look like barren wastelands”

Across western Kansas, many fields planted with wheat months ago now look like barren wastelands. The gaping spaces between rows of brown, shriveled plants reveal hardened dirt that’s scarred with deep cracks from baking in the sun.

Of all the years for drought to hit western Kansas wheat farmers, it couldn’t have come at a worse time.

There was a period of time last century when we witnessed similar things.

The Dust Bowl days of the 1930s are a very dark chapter in American history, and now those conditions are returning.

In recent years, giant dust storms have become quite common in states such as Arizona and New Mexico, but now they are starting to happen in states as far north as Iowa

Iowa’s News Now Meteorologists Nick Stewart and Rebecca Kopelman captured an impressive view from a haboob in northwest Iowa Thursday night.

A haboob is an intense dust storm. One hit near Little Rock, Iowa Thursday night bringing 70 mile per hour winds and zero visibility.

Normally it is very rare for such a storm to ever happen in Iowa, but thanks to the endless drought there is a tremendous amount of dust that can now be picked up and blown around

Although not impossible to see in Iowa, they are rather uncommon. However, severe to extreme drought in Nebraska, South Dakota, and far western Iowa left a lot of dry soils to be kicked up by Thursday’s intense winds.

For years, I warned that Dust Bowl conditions would return, and now it has happened.

We are being told that the Southwest is in the midst of the worst “megadrought” in 1,200 years, and there is no end in sight.

So there will be more water restrictions.

And unless something changes, electricity generation in the Southwest will become a major issue.

But I am most concerned about the impact that this drought will have on ranchers and farmers.

So much of our food is normally grown in the Southwest, but without sufficient water that simply is not going to be possible. {SOURCE }


Around 600 gallons of rainwater can be harvested from about one inch of rain if it falls from a thousand square foot roof. Doesn’t that sound like a lot of water that you could harvest and use for free?

Well, we thought so too.

That is why my husband and I began harvesting our rain water. It is a great way to water your livestock, vegetable garden, flowers, and some even use it for drinking.So today I want to bring you a list of ideas on how you can catch your own rainwater.

But before we begin I want to cover all the bases. First, be sure to check with your local ordinances before harvesting rainwater. Some have gotten a little particular recently about this.

Second, before drinking rainwater be sure that you have thoroughly researched the purifying process in order to protect yourself from possible illness.

Okay, that’s all. So let’s get started—

Why Harvesting Rainwater?

Before we begin to the main part of this article, here’s a nice infographics by CustomMade explaining why you should collect rainwater at home and how to do it properly.

Rainwater Harvesting Infographics

23 Rainwater Harvesting Ideas

1. DIY Rain Barrel System


This site walks you through an easy four step process of building a small rain barrel system. It shows you everything from building the platform to creating the actual rain barrel and hooking it up to your gutters.

And it also gives great visuals to help you along with the process. So if you want to start small and inexpensive just to give harvesting rainwater a try then this might be a good option for you. And if you are like me and rely heavily on visuals while building anything then this option could be very helpful to you.

Build this water catchment system.

2. The Better Home DIY Rain Barrel


This rain barrel is very simple to make. It requires only a garbage can and a few simple hand tools. And it also has a way to filter large debris from your rain barrel as well.

So this water catchment source would be great for smaller items like watering a small garden or some flowers. And it wouldn’t take up much space so it wouldn’t draw a ton of attention on your property.

Build this water catchment system.

3. The PVC Rain Barrel


I love this rain barrel option. I’m probably partial because we have a few of these set-up around our property. They are very sturdy and work great for storing lots of rainwater. I actually use them to water my livestock.

However, what makes this tutorial so great is the fact that she not only includes details on how to build it. But she also includes details about the mistakes she made and how you can learn from those mistakes to have great success with you DIY water catchment system.

Build this water catchment system.

4. The Handy Man Rain Barrel


I love this rain barrel idea. The reason is because it looks great and very functional. But it can also be build on a budget. According to the site, a budget of only $100. That isn’t bad considering the money you’ll be saving yourself on your water bill (or electricity if on a well.)

So the site gives you a great materials list and walks you through the build in ample detail. And it does offer a couple of pictures to help out visual learners (such as myself)

Build this water catchment system.

5. The Basic Rain Barrel

Basic rain barrel

This rain barrel is extremely basic. According to the site, if you have a few materials, an afternoon, and a few carpentry skills then you should be good to go.

So if you are looking for a water catchment system that is meant only to water your lawn or garden then this one should do the trick. It isn’t a big system but for basic use, it should be just fine.

Build this water catchment system.

6. The Cheap DIY Rain Barrel


This rain barrel is made out of a trash can. Therefore, it is pretty inexpensive to make. And according to the site, it works better than most. It looks very easy to build too.

So if you want to collect your own rainwater but are also on a budget then consider this option. It looks pretty good from a visual standpoint too. So this option equates to functional and pleasant to look at. You can’t go wrong with those classifications.

Build this water catchment system.

7. The Medium Sized Rain Water Collection System


This is not your average backyard system. Nor is it something everyone would probably even want. But if you live on a larger piece of land and need ample amount of water to keep your livestock or garden going then this system would certainly be helpful.

So this option actually requires its own shed to cover the large water tank. They have a solar purification system running to it. And it is a larger project than some others mentioned. But if it would work for you then certainly consider doing it. A larger project often creates a really awesome product.

Explore this water catchment system.

8. The Beginner’s Guide To Catching Rain


This option is a little different. It is actually something that most everyone should read before catching your own rainwater. It provides the in’s and out’s of each type of rain catchment system.

And it also informs you of some potential problems you might encounter. Plus, it tells you how to install a basic water catchment system. I included it because it is a great resource that does give a few ideas as well.

Learn more about this water catchment systems.

9. The $15 Rain Barrel


This resource is great! I love it for many reasons. First, because it keeps the true tradition of DIY alive. Not only do you get something functional. But you get it for a bargain price. Secondly, they tell you where to find your barrel so you can stay within the bargain price.

And if that doesn’t just send you over the moon, in the end you get a rain barrel that will help you catch lots of rainwater to keep your property well-maintained at no extra cost. It doesn’t get much better than that, folks.

10. The YoungHouseLove Rain Barrel


This site gives a great resource to build your own rain barrel. They offer up great pictures of their build and many details.

And even better, the finished product looks very appealing. Again, this isn’t a large water catchment system. But it would certainly do the trick to water a few flowers or vegetables. But it looks rather discrete too.

Build this water catchment system.

11. The 275 Gallon System


Now, we are starting to go a little larger. If you have a smaller homestead that you need to water smaller livestock and a larger garden then this system should work well for your needs.

So this site gives you lots of details on how to construct this water catchment system. And it offers lots of great pictures too that will hopefully help along the way.

What happens if we lose power indefinitely — foods that require freezing or refrigeration for long term storage are going to go bad? Emergency food storage in advance will be the only way to feed yourself and your family.

12. The 1,100 Rain Water Catchment System

This is a large rain water catchment system. But don’t let it scare you. You won’t be hauling in some super large tank that has to buried underground. (That comes later.)

No, in fact, this takes 4 of the metal water tanks that will be interlocked together. And this video does a great job at walking you through the build from start to finish. So check it out and see if it could work for you.

Build this water catchment system.

13. The Basic Rain Barrel


This article is a great resource. It tells you all you need to know in summary form about catching and utilizing rain water.

But then it continues on to give you a detailed how-to on creating your own rain barrel. So if you are looking for information and a basic rain barrel plan then this might be a helpful resource to you.

14. A Trash Can Rain Barrel


Lots of people make cost effective rain barrels out of trash cans. But I really liked this tutorial because it is very thorough, in my opinion. And she gives a great picture of a very nice, neat looking finished product.

However, the coolest part is that it is all done by picture. So that is great news for someone looking for something simple. No words are even required for this product. But you get helpful step by step pictures which is great for the visual builder.

15. The Pretty Rain Barrel


This rain barrel is unique in its own right. Why? Because they bought a pretty barrel. If you live in a subdivision and need a more discrete water catchment system then you might really like this one because of how it would blend in with your flower pots.

So beyond that, it is a very simple build. They offer very detailed instruction and step by step pictures which is a bonus that I love.

Build this water catchment system.

16. DIY Filtered Trash Can Rain Barrel

trash can rain barrel

This trash can rain barrel takes things one step further than many. They show how to filter the barrel from any debris entering into your system. This is great as it prevents clogs. In my experience, there is nothing more annoying than trying to water your prize winning petunias and the hose gets all clogged up.

So if you are with me in that notion, give this tutorial a quick glance. You might find that you really like it. It should be budget friendly as well since it is built out of a trash can.

Build this water catchment system.

17. DIY Rain Barrel Video


This is another great tutorial on building a rain barrel. It is a great option for those that live in an area with strict regulations for your property. They show you how to disguise this rain barrel so it will blend in with your property.

So if you need a pretty rain barrel then this might very well be what you’ve been searching for. Not to mention, they give you a detailed video to show you how to complete this project. Sounds like a great project to me.

Build this water catchment system.

18. DIY Rain Barrel Video Tutorial

This video is another great tutorial. Now, it is not one that will blend in with your property. But if you are someone that just needs functionality instead of it blending in too then you’ll probably really appreciate this project.

So beyond how much water you can store in it, it actually seems rather simple to put together. And you also have a great video series that will help you from start to finish.

Build this water catchment system.

19. Bladder Tank


This option is not DIY. However, it is a really cool option to store water. So let’s say you are someone that needs a discrete way to store water, or you just don’t want an obvious water catchment system sitting around your property.

Well, then this option is right up your alley (most likely.) If you live in a house that has a crawl space beneath it then you just set-up this bladder tank under your house and it stores rain water. Isn’t that neat?

Check out this water catchment system.

20. Stand Alone Rain Water Collector


This is a really neat idea if you want a simple rain collector. You’ll just take a water tank and basically, put a large funnel on it.

And that way when it rains, it’ll channel all of the rain water into your tank so you don’t miss as much. It is really a rather ingenious thought, if you ask me

21. Galvanized Stock Tank Rain Barrel


This is a pretty neat idea for a rain barrel. They show you how to turn a galvanized stock tank into a water barrel. I like it because it looks rustic and fits in to most modern décor as well.

But it will also be sturdy and hold plenty of water too. So if you need a water catchment system that will fit into your outside décor this might be a great option for that.

Build this water catchment system.

22. The Fencewell Water Tank


When I saw this my immediate thoughts were, “How cool!” And it really is a neat idea for a water tank. But this is not a DIY option.

However, if you are someone that would like a water tank that won’t take up much space and could even be used as a fence then you might really enjoy this water tank idea. It is very different, to say the least.

Check out this water catchment system.

23. The Massive Water Catchment System


This particular water catchment system is being used out in the desert for an earthbag home. It could be a DIY project but would take a lot of know-how.

So if you are someone that is looking for a huge water catchment system to use for drinking water and to water a large homestead then this might be a good option for you. It would be more costly probably. However, you might just deem it worth the price once you experience the benefit of supplying your own water.

Check out this water catchment system.

So these are 23 options for water catchment systems. Some are DIY and meant to help you store small amounts of water to help with watering vegetation and livestock.

And others are larger, commercial options of catching and purifying your own water for everything you could possibly use it for. I hope you found them helpful and that they sparked a few creative ideas within you.

…and it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before… An A to Z guide on survival gardening that is easy to read and a joy to put into practice, full of photos, diagrams and step by step advice. Even a kid can do this and, in fact, I encourage you to let the little ones handle it, to teach them not just about self-reliance but also about how Mother Nature works.

Here is just a glimpse of what you’ll find inside:

How to plan, design and put into action high-yield survival garden that will literally keep you and your family fed for life, no matter what hits you, even when everyone else around you is starving to death. No digging and planting year after year and no daily watering because you’ll have more important things to worry about when TSHTF.

How to set up highly nutritious soil for your plants. Do this before you plant anything and you’re on your way to setting your food forest on auto-pilot for decades to come. I’m gonna tell you this one “weird” thing to add to the mulch that’s not only highly effective but also 100% free (because you already have it in your home right now).

Step-by-step instructions on how to plant over 125 plants inside your permaculture garden. Plus, special instructions on choosing the right ones for your climate. From Arizona to Alaska, you can do this anywhere…

How to “marry” your plants. We’re gonna tell you which grow well together and help each-other survive and thrive, so they don’t ever compete for sunlight and nutrients. You get the full table of plants that work well with one another as well as the ones you should NEVER be put together.

Books can be your best pre-collapse investment.

Carnivore’s Bible (is a wellknown meat processor providing custom meat processing services locally andacross the state of Montana and more. Whether your needs are for domestic meator wild game meat processing)

The Lost Book of Remedies PDF ( contains a series of medicinal andherbal recipes to make home made remedies from medicinal plants and herbs.Chromic diseases and maladies can be overcome  by taking the remediesoutlined in this book. The writer claims that his grandfather was taughtherbalism and healing whilst in active service during world war twoand that he has treated many soldiers with his home made cures. )

Easy Cellar(Info about building and managing your root cellar, plus printable plans. The book on building and using root cellars – The Complete Root Cellar Book.)

The Lost Ways (Learn the long forgotten secrets that helped our forefathers survive famines,wars,economic crisis and anything else life threw at them)

LOST WAYS 2 ( Wordof the day: Prepare! And do it the old fashion way, like our fore-fathers did it and succeed longbefore us,because what lies ahead of us will require all the help we can get. Watch this video and learn the 3 skills that ensured our ancestors survival in hard times offamine and war.)

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